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'Otherwise' explores the influence of LGBTQ+ culture on art
Zanele Muholi (South African, b. 1972). Bona II, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2015. Gelatin silver print on paper, 21 1/4 x 13 inches (54 x 33 cm). Museum purchase with funds from the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights at the University of Virginia, 2019.1. The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of the artist, Yancey Richardson, New York, and Stevenson Cape Town / Johannesburg.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia will offer its own contribution to a nationwide exploration of LGBTQ+ history and culture with a new exhibition opening Aug. 8, 2019. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, which became a rallying cry for gay rights activists.

Otherwise, on view Aug. 8, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020, utilizes more than 40 modern and contemporary works from The Fralin’s permanent collection, along with two exciting new acquisitions, to examine the influence LGBTQ+ culture has had and continues to have on artistic production from the early 20th century to the present. It showcases works by artists who identify as LGBTQ+ as well as those who have dealt significantly with LGBTQ+ issues within their work.

The exhibition is curated by Hannah Cattarin, the Museum’s curatorial assistant. Cattarin, who has a master’s degree from the University of Essex, is part of the Fralin’s commitment to bring younger voices into the curatorial process. “Otherwise is a way to reexamine what we take for granted as ‘normal’ and reinvigorate our community’s relationship with the Museum’s collection,” she said.

Inspired by the writings of David J. Getsy, Teresa de Lauretis and José Esteban Muñoz, among others, Otherwise seeks to visualize LGBTQ+ themes and histories as a way of valuing them. Getsy defines the “otherwise” as the “endless positions of apartness from which queer stances are posited.”

“The Fralin’s permanent collection contains a number of works that, shown together with two exciting new acquisitions, will spark discussion around unknown and suppressed LGBTQ+ histories within the art historical cannon,” said Matthew McLendon, the Museum’s J. Sanford Miller Family director. “We are excited to see Hannah’s research and work with the collection come to life in this exhibition.”

The two new works include Bona II, Charlottesville, Virginia by Zanele Muholi, an important addition to The Fralin’s photography collection from Muholi’s Somnyama Ngonyama series exploring self-presentation through portraiture. This accession marks the first work by a contemporary non-binary artist in the Fralin’s collection. The second is a 126-page magazine and C-print of the cover entitled Indigenous Woman by Martine Gutierrez. In Indigenous Woman, Gutierrez uses a fashion magazine framework as a vehicle to explore her identity. This acquisition marks the first work in The Fralin collection by a contemporary transgender Latina artist. Both acquisitions bring important subject positions to The Fralin’s collection.

Otherwise will be divided into three categories: Self, Subject and Style. Self features work by artists examining visualizations of identity through self-portraiture, including the work of Yasumasa Morimura and Paul Thek. Subject looks at artists’ representations of queer subjects and themes with work by Nan Golding, Kiki Smith and Duane Michals. Style addresses the problematic impulse to rely on a distinctive categorization of the work of queer artists and explores the ways in which stigma has and continues to influence the visibility of LGBTQ+ artists with work by Berenice Abbott and Louise Nevelson.

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